May 15th, 2013 by Elizabeth
Trevor is the most dedicated of the cockatiels to maintaining the nestbox. He’s been chewing away at the opening.
Trevor likes to chew the nestbox as he pushes it. The nextbox eventually falls off the cage and he’s surprised. So you can see in the picture above that there’s a white string to the left of the green mineral block. I used yarn to secure the nestbox to the cage.
Trevor is in his cage right now because along with being territorial about the nestbox, he’s taken to charging Stonewall. Stonewall is no longer the dominant bird. Trevor is the most aggressive bird, but since both he and Stonewall defer to Conner, I think Conner is the leader. Lucky for me, Trevor doesn’t actually mind being put into the cage as long as Conner is nearby. Conner loves Trevor too, so he doesn’t stray far.
The picture below is so funny. I was trying to get a good shot of Trevor and instead I got a perfect picture of Stonewall and Conner peeking from behind the nestbox.
May 11th, 2013 by Elizabeth
I got some really nice shots of the Collared Finchbill. I love his collar, of course, and I also like the black stripe on the bottom of his tail feathers. It looks like he got into some dirt.
I quickly felt about Collared Finchbills in China the same way I feel about Yellow-rumped Warblers in Utah in the summer: absolutely beautiful, but so common that you eventually get tired of seeing them. They love to be in flocks with other birds and they were so blasé about being near people. This guy is so chill in fact that he’s tucked his leg up into his chest, which is the ultimate sign of a relaxed bird.
They’re classified as being part of the bulbul family, which is a very big family in China. I know you’re shocked to learn that they’re big seed eaters.
I can’t get over how colorful the birds in China are. Here in Utah we have Scrub Jays and hummingbirds, but everyone else is generally gray, black or brown.
May 8th, 2013 by Elizabeth
Stonewall continues to say no a lot. He’s expanded his no to me and now when he’s on my shoulder and I’m typing, he climbs down to the keyboard and starts screaming at my fingers. But then he gets a little confused and his screams convert into singing.
Everything seems to be a precursor to singing. We discovered the other day that he loves Iggy Pop. He loves “The Passenger” and he enjoys other classics like “Lust for Life.” I’m so glad to have a bird with taste. The other birds like opera. What the hell is that about?!
May 4th, 2013 by Elizabeth
I love sculptures. This one was in a little town halfway up a mountain we hiked.
Another thing they had on the mountain was a Black-chinned Yuhina. Yet another bird to reset the bar for cuteness.
They’re four inches long. They’re as small as the smallest chickadee.
This image is a little blurry, but you can see so much more detail in his crest. It’s black with white tips. Most of the pictures I found of the Black-chinned Yuhina had them in pairs. Cute snuggly pairs.
I think this little guy inspired another little guy’s hairstyle. What do you think? I think the yuhina would be a true belieber.
May 1st, 2013 by Elizabeth
I’ve been taking online classes in computer science. This requires me to read a textbook, watch videos, and write code every evening and all weekend long. By the end of this, I’ll have a Computer Science degree and will hopefully feel more secure. It’s more fun than I expected; I really like writing programs. It’s funny how many people told me that CS is hard. They should try getting a philosophy degree.
I do my weekday studying upstairs with the birds and they love it.
Conner has a deep love for all activities that take place on the floor. When I clean up the newspapers that I lay beneath their cages Conner gets excited. He gets to the lowest point possible and peeks down at me. So when I watch the videos for my class, I sit on the floor and Conner sits on my shoulder or the bed.
The birds are super supportive of my education goals. Right now I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree and the birds are really hoping I get a master’s.
Apr 29th, 2013 by Elizabeth
China is a communist country, which means the government owns the land and rents it out to the people. The People’s Republic of China discourages any indicators associated with democracy, like unions. As a result, there are no official farming unions. However, there’s the word of the government and there’s reality. In a rural area outside of Chengdu, I saw a farming community that was a slum.
I’ve seen rough conditions in the United States, but in crowded urban areas. I’ve never seen anything this run-down and dirty before. People are living in crumbling houses with no plumbing or electricity. Just look at this stream bed.
I think you can understand why a lot of Chinese people have many of their supplies imported from Hong Kong. Do you want to eat food grown in conditions like this? Of course, the biggest item imported from Hong Kong is formula, because some companies in China are so immoral, they’re willing to poison babies in their own country in the name of profit. It seems like there’s a lot more safety nets in the United States than China. Call it what you want, but no one should have to live in conditions like this.
Apr 28th, 2013 by Elizabeth
This is the female Orange-flanked Bush Robin. Her coloring is a lot more subtle than the male, but I really like her orange flanks.
She has a blue tail, but it’s very hard to see. It’s a light-blue tail instead of the royal blue the male has on his head.
She has the same white beard as the male, but it’s harder to see because of her olive coloring.
Apr 26th, 2013 by Elizabeth
You may have read that robins in the United States are a different species than robins in other countries. It’s true. This is a male Orange-flanked Bush Robin. He used to be in the thrush family and he’s now an Old World Flycatcher.
So pretty! I think he looks like a swallow because of the shape of the beak. This is consistent with their diet, which consists of insects.
The female isn’t nearly as blue. I’ll post pictures of the females later. I think she’s prettier because it’s a subtler beauty. But it might also be because I got better shots of her.
Apr 21st, 2013 by Elizabeth
I haven’t told you the craziest thing that happened while we were in China. Before our flight from Shenzhen to Chengdu took off, these two women got into a fight. One of them had a baby and she hadn’t bought a ticket for the baby. So she tried to put the baby in the seat next to her, which was already reserved for the second woman. The women starting arguing, and then one slapped the other one. That caused them to really get into it with fists flying. The flight attendants had to pull them apart. Then they started punching again. This went on for 10 minutes! And they let the women fly; they just separated them and police detained them after we arrived in Chengdu.
We were traveling with a colleague from Shenzhen and she made sure to emphasize that the women were speaking in a Chengdu dialect. I.e., she wanted to make sure we knew that these women weren’t from her region, which still makes me laugh. I would do exactly the same thing.
I mention this now because in Chengdu I visited a Buddhist Monastery for women. My guide mentioned that China doesn’t have a good support system for treating mental illnesses. As a result, this monastery was actually a place where they put troubled women until they improve enough to reenter society. It’s such a beautiful monastery. There was a woman in one of the rooms chanting. It was a very soothing chant.
Do you see the dog in the picture? He was so incredibly regal. That was his monastery.
You can actually stay in the monastery, but they only have squat toilets. Sadly I can’t use squat toilets. Otherwise it would have been so amazing to stay there.
They also have domestic chickens. You better watch out for those chickens, they’re very dangerous. They hide in the bamboo and wait for you to be at your weakest moment.
Apr 19th, 2013 by Elizabeth
There are many forktails in China. The Little Forktail was the most prevalent.
I found it very difficult to photograph his legs. The whiteness made it hard to get a contrast between the legs and the water.
Any time I looked into a stream, there was a forktail on a rock. Even the pictures in Google images all have forktails on rocks.
I do love these little water birds with their caps.